Reuters/China Daily

What happens when a checkpoint merges 50 lanes down to 20.

Traffic after the holidays tend to be pretty awful. But China may have just turned every driver’s worst nightmare into reality as hundreds of millions of people headed home at the end of a Golden Week, a week-long national holiday.

Thousands of motorists found themselves stranded on Tuesday in what looks from above like a 50-lane parking lot on the G4 Beijing-Hong Kong-Macau Expressway, one of the country’s busiest roads. Some are dubbing the traffic jam a “carpocalypse,” while others are calling it “carmageddon.”

Though foggy weather may have played a role, the real culprit is a new checkpoint that forces traffic to merge from 50 lanes down to just 20, according to The People’s Daily. Traffic was reportedly backed up for hours.

It's the "high wait". Drone footage shows a 10km-long line of cars returning to Beijing after the Chinese New Year holiday.

Posted by Trending in China on Thursday, February 26, 2015

China is no stranger to these ridiculous traffic jams, especially on national highways. In 2010, gridlock spanning more than 74 miles on the stretch between the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Beijing left drivers with nowhere to go for a staggering 12 days. That time blame fell on everything from road construction to broken down cars and fender-benders.

People played cards to pass the time while nearby vendors took the opportunity to sell food and water at premium prices. “If you said ‘no’ or complained about the price they threaten to break your [wind]shields,” one driver told the Inner Mongolia Morning Post.

In 2012, the government’s decision to grant free road travel during the same national holiday turned 24 motorways in 16 provinces into a massive parking lot with more than 85 million people stuck in their cars.

Reuters/China Daily
Reuters/China Daily

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    Berlin Will Spend €2 Billion Per Year to Improve Public Transit

    The German capital plans to make major investments to expand bus and rail networks, boost frequency, and get ahead of population growth. Are you jealous yet?

  2. Design

    Reviving the Utopian Urban Dreams of Tony Garnier

    While little known outside of France, architect and city planner Tony Garnier (1869-1948) is as closely associated with Lyon as Antoni Gaudí is with Barcelona.

  3. photo: An elderly resident of a village in Japan's Gunma Prefecture.
    Life

    In Japan’s Vanishing Rural Towns, Newcomers Are Wanted

    Facing declining birthrates and rural depopulation, hundreds of “marginal villages” could vanish in a few decades. But some small towns are fighting back.

  4. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

  5. Equity

    Bernie Sanders and AOC Unveil a Green New Deal for Public Housing

    The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act would commit up to $180 billion over a decade to upgrading 1.2 million federally owned homes.

×